Jakob Lynch is underrated as a 10T master because people run him with the wrong loadout. There are three main styles of play, each attributed to his limited upgrades. Only one of them will win you games consistently and change how your opponent’s play.
Ditch Endless Hunger – it is hurting your game. It’s a cool upgrade, but it doesn’t bring enough to the table to make Lynch work. Terrifying (All) 12 is a minor card sink (at best). Casting Expert is the power of the upgrade, but it only helps Huggy. If your opponent is smart, they blitz him off the table and remove one of your heaviest hitters and invalidate a 2ss upgrade slot on Lynch.
Rising Sun was the ubiquitous choice until wave 5. This upgrade is why Lynch doesn’t get the respect he deserves. While the Immortal Huggy is fun, a serious threat, and can swing games when played properly, it’s all tied to Lynch surviving. Lynch is 10wds and has one defensive trick… that doesn’t count (taking damage when cheating).
This is how it unfolds: you over extend Huggy, get a major piece of your wheel killed, and you justify it with, “I’ll just bring him back with Lynch.” If you do, things work out (sometimes). If you don’t, you’re on the Struggle Bus.
Put Your Aces in their Places
Lynch is not a support master nor is he a control master. He’s a kill master with fate-deck manipulation and duel-control subthemes. If you aren’t trying to table your opponent with Lynch, you’re doing it wrong. Three of his non-limited upgrades encourage dealing damage, so deal damage.
Take “Wanna See A Trick?”. It’s efficient and cheap. It does everything you need it to do: damage outside of activation using cards you pick up for free. If you have the stones left, take “Woke Up With A Hand” for access to Final Debt. A well-timed and constructed Lynch activation should be dropping upwards of 16 damage amongst your enemies.
Unleash Lynch’s Damage
How? Pick up aces while minding your control hand. Take advantage of the tools given. Three aces get you six points of damage. Six cards (in hand) on Debt gets you six more. You’re now dealing 12 damage. Next, pop a shot with a ram trigger and get your last four damage. This is not a spike! This is what you are aiming for. The only challenge is getting enough enemies to dare trespass in his threat range.
Now this can be done with any of his limited upgrades, but let’s address the one you should be running: “Cheating Bastard”.
What Wins You Games
There is one underused upgrade that gets you the “W”: the “Cheating Bastard” upgrade.
“Cheating Bastard” alters the way your opponent plays the game. Within 6” of Lynch or Huggy, your models always cheat second. This is a game-changer that players undervalue. “Cheating Bastard” gives you power. Close, mid-value flips happen a lot. Example:
You both flip, and they are winning with a flipped 10. Because of “Cheating Bastard” our opponent must consider, “Do I need to cheat that severe? Do I pass and let them cheat to now win?” Maybe she will let it ride… maybe she pushes out that 13 to try to guarantee the win.
Regardless, this puts the pressure on your opponent to maintain good control hands or make bad choices. That only benefits you. Worst case, you have more cards in your hand for Lynch’s Final Debt. Or you get to sneak in a lower card to win.
Don’t underestimate this. Being able to win on a moderate because you’re opponent psyched themselves out of “pre”-cheating the severe is great. One of the most challenging choices when losing the duel is wondering how high you have to cheat up to prevent your opponent from matching or beating. This removes that from your game entirely.
Remember: with the triggers Unload and Envelop, Lynch and Huggy can hit min 4. If the enemy has Brilliance, your Illuminated are min 4. You can play around negatives from close duels – you just want to hit.
The “secret” Cheating Bastard tech is revealing Masks to get cumulatively better things. The most important: revealing only one mask (hopefully the Ace) will hit an enemy with Under the Influence within 8” of Lynch. No AP required to get brilliance on it and that means dead by end of activation.
Most new Lynch players make the same mistakes. Don’t forget you only pick up aces during your model’s activations (BUT not during Lynch’s). Play for Blood hurts YOU if you lose the duel, so be careful.
Don’t get lost in hunting for aces. If you want to hunt for them, bring a samurai and a model (or two) that heal on a zero and use Walking Fire. Burn through your deck for aces on a single AP and then move on. Don’t get caught up with hunting. Natural positives will help, as will hitting double-negative flips on damage with your high-min models. Lynch is the rare case where you don’t mind negatives to damage because you want to flip more cards.
You must know your ranges. 52 Pickup requires 6 inches, Final Debt is 10”. Play for Blood, House Rules and your gun are all 8”. If your target is past 6”, make sure to account for a walk to close the gap.
If you take “Woke Up” don’t assume you need to wait. Two cards is awesome but murdering something before it affects the board is better. Even if you have to cheat to land Final Debt, that’s 5 damage for 1AP. If you needed to Play for Blood first, that is 7 damage for 2AP. Not bad at all! You don’t care about Hard to Wound or Impossible to Wound. Just watch out for Hard to Kill and Armor (and similar effects).
When using “Mulligan”, do not pitch your low cards. Repeat, do not pitch your low cards! You want those bad boys to be out of your deck next turn, not in them. Throw out mid (6-8) cards instead. If you draw more low cards… then pitch them at the end of the turn.
Do not hold aces in your control hand. Ideally you pitched those aces into your deck for damage with 52 Pickup. But if you have the misfortune of having them in your hand at end of turn, don’t keep them. They are worthless starting the turn in your hand, toss them and hope for a severe. The ONLY time to consider keeping an ace is the Ace of Masks if you’re prepping for House Rules to drop scheme markers or heal.
Do not over extend. This is a common mistake; generally recoverable. If you do it with Lynch it is losing you games. Lynch folds to a stiff breeze, as does Huggy. Slap Smoke Grenades on the Hugster, and keep him and Lynch behind your front-line nuking what gets close. Hunt only if you need to.
Bring soulstones. Lynch has a very low cache of one. I find it’s better to think of Huggy as costing 3ss like other totems, just to keep Lynch at effective cache 4. You want those stones more for cards than anything (though prevention is nice). You still need to dig through your deck often. Lynch’s mulligan does not replace stoning for cards.
Ours – 10 free SS in the form of Huggy. This is a great strategy for Lynch because you can bring Beckoners, Illuminated, and Crime Bosses and just say “Come at me!” You want to pick schemes that don’t force you to separate your two bubbles-of-death. Consider Guarded Treasure. Keep the Ace of Masks to hunt for House Rules scheme-marker drop and let Lynch and Huggy sit threatening your opponent’s corner quadrants while scoring.
Symbols – This is tough with Lynch because you are trying to kill and hold, not spread out. Ten Thunders have mobile minions you can send out for their markers (looking at you, Yokai). Defend your own with your death balls and use Beckoners to lure your opponent’s runners off track of your markers.
Ply & Public – This is where Lynch will shine. Beckoners can isolate enemy models and your crew is designed to murder and murder hard. Drag in that poor sap to ply and murder, or just murder for the shed blood. You can move up on your terms. Your opponent must engage you. Make them pay for it.
Supply – Huggy is a 50mm. Bring Yamaziko to get 2x 40mm pushes and a nimble walk. Run her with no upgrades and laugh at your amazing 6ss Wagon hauler. Murder any foolish enough to get close.
Schemes to Take
Anything that requires you to kill your opponent. Undercover Entourage, Public Demo, Show of Force
Schemes to Avoid
Surround Them, Covert Breakthrough, Hold Up.
Common Crew Choices
Gwyneth, Illuminated, Beckoners and Stitched Together are fantastic. Leave Depleted at home. Gwyn is an auto-take for ace hunting, more cards for Final Debt, another source of ranged Brilliance, and her ability to toss out scheme markers at range. She is a strong mid-level tank.
Shadow Emissary is lovely to have to hand out fast to Huggy, but isn’t required. He is a good source of hunting aces with his focus +2. Try pitching an ace for it, then use the two focus for the 0-action push. You see more cards and hunt for the New Secrets trigger in early rounds.
Anything that pitches cards to flurry/rapid fire. Like Lazarus with “Recalled Training”.
Ten Thunder Brothers and Obsidian Oni. Both like to pitch cards and have great utility in general.
High River Monks are sleeper picks – you can wrack up burning on a Ply target when you pitch an ace to triple-swing charge. That leaves them alive to Ply spam, then die. It is also good denial for Take One.
Yamaziko for a variety of reasons. If you can purge your opponent’s hand early you’ve dialed Lynch up to 11, even if you invalidated his Trump Cards ability.
Monks of Low River are good for ranged-marker drop and keeping Huggy and Lynch topped up.
Let Lynch support your crew by focusing on dealing damage. Your win percentage will thank you.
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